Have you ever painfully cried out to God for healing for someone and God said “no”?
If you have lived life very long you have probably had to deal with death. Many of us question God at this time as we struggle to see how we will live life without our loved one. I ,too, have been there.
My first, most powerful, memory of death was while I was a freshman in college. My pastor developed liver cancer. I returned from college on weekends to attend church and I remember watching him give his final words of encouragement to his flock. His skin was yellow and he was very weak. This pastor was special to me because he baptized me. There were over 300 people that went to that church every Sunday, but he knew my name. As a young person, that meant a lot.
Many nights in my college dorm room I would cry out to God to heal my beloved pastor. My Sunday School teacher told us to pray for God’s will to be done. I prayed for God’s will and hoped that it would be for my pastor to be healed.
Eventually, the cancer won and my pastor went home to be with his Savior and Lord. I was crushed. I asked why.
Years later, I had a dream. An old friend from high school was dying and her family asked me why I had not been there for her. When I awoke, I was so shaken I knew I must contact her. We had been out of touch for some time, but I was able to track down her husband. My friend had a rare form of bone cancer and was not expected to live.
Once again, I wept and cried out to God to spare the life of one I loved.
This time, God said “yes” and she lived. She has been cancer free for over five years now.
I wish God always healed my loved ones in that way. He does not, as in the case of my mother who died of leukemia at age 54. My father-in-law also died this past year, at age 61, from a rare and horrible disease. Of course, both of these times, I prayed and wanted God to heal them. Their healing came in a way that I did not want.
So, why does God spare some and not others? I heard a wonderful testimony today of a woman in my church who nearly died last Christmas season. Praise God, through prayer and His grace, she is alive today to tell us all the miracles that God brought into her life through her illness. We love to hear these stories and be encouraged that there are times when God does miracles, even today. However, honestly, I weep and say, “But, why not Mom, or my pastor, or my father-in-law, too?”
Romans 8:28 tells us that no matter what happens, God will work ALL things out for good to those who are called according to His purpose. God has a plan for each of us and no matter what comes our way, if we are trusting in Him, we recognize His hand in ALL things.
Today, I can look past the pain of my losses and see God’s hand of love. The pain is not gone completely, but I can see past it and not wonder why.
Let us hold tight to the hope we have in the one who gave up His ONLY Son to die for us, even when we hated and abused Him. God, the Father, knows the sorrow and pain of loss first hand, but He also knows that death is not the end. So, whether we live or die, the glory belongs to Him alone. I will see my loved ones again. I know they accepted God’s sacrifice for them. Praise God for this hope and the peace that it brings.